Congressman Sherman Calls for Comprehensive Health Study on Effects of Aliso Canyon Gas Leak
Sherman Oaks, CA – Following the release of an independent health study by Dr. Jeffrey Nordella, which concluded that Porter Ranch residents have uranium, lithium, and other chemicals in their bodies, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) is calling for a comprehensive, independent, long-term health study on the impact of toxin exposures from the Aliso Canyon well blowout.
Nordella’s study revealed that of 106 patients whose urine was tested, 31 percent had a presence of styrene at higher than average levels. Styrene is a derivative of benzene, a known carcinogen. Chronic exposure to styrene leads to tiredness and lethargy, memory deficits, headaches, and vertigo.
“The results of Dr. Nordella’s study only strengthen the need for a long-term health study to be completed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health,” said Congressman Sherman, whose home was as close as any residence to the Aliso Canyon gas leak.
In 2016, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health completed a study focused on air samples by testing dust samples inside homes. Officials found evidence of metals that were consistent with those found at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility site.
This is not the first time Sherman has called for a comprehensive study. In February, SoCalGas reached a settlement with the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) that shortchanged Porter Ranch. The settlement called for SoCalGas to pay $8.5 million, but only one million of that sum was to be spent on a comprehensive health study.
“An appropriate study of the injuries caused, and particularly the long-term effects caused by the methane leak cannot be completed for one million dollars,” said Sherman. “One million dollars is enough for a whitewash that declares that everyone is fine and no one should bother SoCalGas again.”
Sherman continued, “Numerous air and facility tests over the past two years have shown elevated levels of benzene, a known carcinogen. We can no longer sit on our hands while the lives of thousands of residents of Porter Ranch are at stake”
Sherman is also renewing his call for stronger regulation of natural gas storage facilities in Aliso Canyon and beyond.
“Now is the time to put in place stronger regulations that will work to prevent what happened at Aliso Canyon from reoccurring anywhere in California,” said Sherman. “Just because California’s standards for the storage of natural gas are stronger than those in other states or federal standards, does not mean they are sufficient.”
First, Sherman urges the requirement of deep subsurface positive-pressure safety valves on all active wells at subsurface natural gas storage facilities. Second, California must address the “too big to fail, too big to exist” issue by mandating that when any major metropolitan area is reliant on one storage facility for over 25 percent of its power, additional gas storage facilities must be developed.
For nearly four months, the northern Los Angeles community of Porter Ranch suffered from the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history. More than 7,000 families were displaced from their homes and forced to relocate. Two schools in the area were closed for the duration of the school year.